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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: By Grandmother's Side
By Joanney Uthe


Clara trudged through the snow to the old farmhouse, dreading the long hours ahead. ‘Why am I the one who has to sit with Grandmother every night? I’d rather stay at home and cook for the family. At least there would be something to do.’

She met her cousin outside the bedroom door. “Ray said he would wait and give you a ride home. So, how is she today?”

“Good. She’s having a rare day, very alert and talkative.” Agnes set Grandmother’s worn Bible on the tray of food Clara carried. “She wants us to read Scripture. Have a good evening.” Agnes winked, knowing how much Clara despised this family role. “Does Ray have the Model T your Mother won last spring?”

“He has the buggy. Father won’t let anyone drive the automobile when it snows. See you tomorrow.” Taking a deep breath, she entered her grandmother’s bedroom.

“Clara, dear. Come sit by me.” Grandmother’s weak voice sounded as sweat as Clara remembered from her youth. “Oh, thank you, dear, I think I am hungry. Will you read Psalm 23 to me as I eat?”

Clara smiled as she read Psalm 23, glad for her grandmother’s alertness and good mood. Over the next few hours, as she read chapter after chapter from the gospels, the prophets, the epistles and more Psalms, Clara’s attitude gradually slipped to a renewed distaste for her daily routine of sitting by Grandmother’s bed.

‘She’s not even listening. I can hear her mumbling to herself. She only listens for when I am done, then tells me another chapter from another part of the Bible.’ Clara flung the pages of the Bible to the requested passage.

“Clara, dear, read with your heart.” Grandmother’s weak voice had a strength Clara not heard in years. “You cannot read Scripture with only your eyes. Pray, child.”

‘Read with my heart? What does that mean? How can I read if not with my eyes? Crazy old lady!’

“Start again with verse 18, but first pray.”

‘Okay, God, she wants me to pray. Show me what I’m supposed to do. What will make Grandmother happy?’

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (I Corinthians 1:18-19)

‘It is all foolishness.’ Clara stopped reading and sat up straight, surprised at her own thought.

“Pray, Clara, pray.” Grandmother’s voice was getting weaker each time she talked. “Pray for wisdom. Let’s go to Romans. Chapter Three.”

‘Okay, God, Grandmother says to pray for wisdom. Give me this wisdom. I do not think the Cross is foolishness. Why did that thought cross my mind? I attend church with my family and try to live according to Your laws. I am not the one perishing here.’

Clara began to read, but the words confused her even more. Tears swelled in her eyes.

“Clara, dear, please reread verse 23.”

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

“Now go to Romans 6:23”

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

‘Okay, God, I get the hint. I’m a sinner and that means I’m dying. Now what?’

“Romans 5:8” Grandmother’s voice was barely audible.

“’But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ Grandmother, if going to church and obeying the Ten Commandments doesn’t make one righteous, how does God sending His Son stop me from dying because of my sins?”

“Oh, Clara, finally you listen. Read Romans 10:9 and 13.” Grandmother’s smile reached her voice.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved …. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Clara dried her eyes. “Grandmother, teach me to pray.”

“With pleasure, my child.” Grandmother lead Clara in a simple prayer of repentance then requested that Clara put her down for the night. “My work is done, my child, and so is yours.” These were Grandmother's last words. As she helped with the burial that week, Clara had a new peace in her heart. She knew she would see Grandmother again.

(All Scripture KJV)

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This article has been read 889 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick02/01/07
This is very good. Your charcters dialogue flowed and made the passages realistic and relateable. Nice job. I relaly liked this.
william price02/05/07
Very nice. Good characterization. Well delivered message. One comment is you started quite a few sentences with, Clara. But, overall a very enjoyable story. God bless.
Allison Egley 02/05/07
Oh, I liked this. It confused me, at first, whether she was actually speaking her thoughts aloud or not. I went back and realized you used single quotes for her thoughts and double quotes for her speaking. I would be clearer if you made the thoughts in italics instead. Great story. Keep writing.
Patty Wysong02/06/07
Good job! A good way to share the Gospel.
Donna Powers 02/07/07
An enjoyable trip down the "Roman Road"! I enjoyed this story. Nicely done and thanks for sharing it
Shari Armstrong 02/07/07
Very touching - great dialog
Shari Armstrong 02/07/07
Very touching - great dialogue. Loved the way the grandmother knew just what needed to be said :)
Dennis Fletcher02/07/07
well written, made me think. The story kept me throughout, well done!
Julie Arduini02/07/07
This was very good. I loved watching the transition of attitude unfold from resenting family to surrounded by family with the burial. She came full circle nicely.
Loren T. Lowery02/07/07
A lovely story. Not sure of your word count, but "fleshing" out both the characters and their surroundings, would, in my mind enhanced the atmosphere of the piece. Not an easy task to do with only 750 words - nonetheless - good job.
Myrna Noyes02/07/07
Lovely piece that shows the influence a grandparent can have even when they are dying. Our ministry to others never has to end until we draw our final breath, and even then the memories linger in others to bless and inspire! Thank you for sharing this well-written and touching story!
Leigh MacKelvey02/07/07
Your story gave me chills, as I could feel grandmother's deepest desire for her grandaughter and the importance of gsthering her last strengths in order to guide Clara through Romans.
Very good writing! I would suggest you use italics when writing a character's thoughts. It makes it easier to distinguish and seems to be an accepted approach to writing "thoughts". Again, very nice story and well written.